The almond industry says this year’s harvest is still on track to be Australia’s biggest crop ever.
Harvest has started in the major growing areas of Sunraysia, Riverland and Riverina this week and will continue until April, depending on weather conditions.
The world’s demand for almonds is growing each year, especially from countries like India and China.
Almond Board of Australia chief executive Ross Skinner said this year’s crop was expected to be at least 75,000 tonnes.
“At this stage, it looks like it’ll also be record levels of payment to growers on the record crop, so we’re certainly getting it from both good yields and good prices,” he said.
“And the Australian dollar, with it having fallen, will increase returns from those export markets.”
Mr Skinner said the hot weather hitting most of these almond growing regions was helping with harvest.
“It is very good conditions at the moment for harvest for almonds,” he said.
“We, like dried grapes, don’t like rain during the harvest period. In the Riverland and Sunraysia, we’ve had that spell of hot weather which has been ideal.”
Mr Skinner said that a lot of the 2015 crop had already been pre-sold and he did not expect any trouble marketing the remaining crop.
One of Australia’s biggest almond companies is already seeing the benefits of the record prices and the record 2015 crop.
Select Harvest, which has orchards in Sunraysia, Riverland and the Riverina, has forward sold 40 per cent of this year’s crop already.
Managing director Paul Thompson said with prices sitting around $11 a kilogram, the season and industry were looking very good.
“The almond industry is looking really positive, because not only are we near record prices, but there’s a big volume of trees that are coming into maturity as an industry, which means we’re becoming a significant player and number two in the world.”